And the Winner of the Evan Marc Katz Philosophy 101 Writing Contest Is…

…Mr_Right, who sent me something very astute on New Years Eve. While his initial premise, “People are inherently selfish when it comes to dating and relationships” isn’t exactly an opinion, his written response to this premise, explaining why selfishness is bad for relationships, is a keeper. It’s not highbrow, but it’s wise, and it deserves to have a broader platform. So, without further ado, your winner, Mr_Right…

When the movie “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” came out, my fiancée asked (dragged) me to go watch it with her. I found myself enjoying the movie far more than I thought I would. There was a line in this movie though that really struck a chord. In it, the main character is espousing on relationships, and he says “The power in all relationships lies with whoever cares less.”

It’s saying if you want to be in control of your relationship, don’t care about your relationship, or care less than your partner. And in a way, it’s true. Think about it. If the woman starts caring less and less while the guy is still at the same level, she’ll have the control in the relationship, directing the flow of it, or even ending it altogether. Or, take “The Rules”, which are designed to keep the woman in control. Does “Don’t call him and rarely return his phone calls” sound like it’s designed to benefit the relationship, or does it benefit the woman who doesn’t call? You could even reverse the roles and have a situation where the man is not emotionally available and the woman stays with him for far longer than she should, simply because she cares more than he does.

Even when dating, people are selfish. To an extent, you have to be. “Look out for number one.” “Guard your heart.” “Here’s the list of requirements my partner MUST have.” And so forth.

It’s only by being selfless in a relationship that it can achieve its highest potential.

There are quite a few problems with this though. Relationships are based on trust, understanding, respect, and love. Being selfish is not one of the foundations of a relationship. It’s only by being selfless in a relationship that it can achieve its highest potential. And to get there, it’s only by being selfless and open when dating that you can get to a relationship.

I’m not talking about being so giving and selfless that you become a doormat, nor am I talking about forcing yourself to care more than your feelings allow. Everything, from dating to relationships, needs time to grow and evolve.

If you like someone, then you should be open and receptive toward them. It’s about showing that you care about them, from small gestures like holding hands and funny text messages, to larger gestures like meeting friends and family, and saying “I love you”. It’s about being selfless and allowing yourself to be open to others.

I remember something that happened on the second date with my fiancee. It was the day before Valentines Day, and I figured that after a great first date (don’t knock Olive Garden, it’s classy yet inexpensive, AND they have great breadsticks), we would spend the evening walking around the mall, having dinner, and checking out a movie. After having Mexican food (which I secretly despise, yet sacrifices have to be made on second dates, especially when your date loves Mexican food), we walked around the mall. About halfway, I said “Hey, I notice your hand is free”, and she grinned widely and grabbed my hand. You couldn’t wipe the smiles off both our faces for the rest of the night. That small gesture of grabbing my hand made the evening for me, and changed my thinking about her to “this one is a keeper.”

That small gesture of grabbing my hand made the evening for me, and changed my thinking about her to “this one is a keeper.”

The final part of the quote goes “Someone once told me that the power in all relationships lies with whomever cares less, and he was right. But power isn’t happiness, and I think that maybe happiness comes from caring more about people rather than less…”

In the movie, the main character realizes that to be happy – truly happy – he needs to start caring more about others than himself. That’s a lesson that all of us can take to heart.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    hunter

    Diana at #27, I agree with you, I couldn’t get used to the gifts, receiving sweet notes…(when I was in my 20′s). Fast forward 20+ years, I am no longer this way.

  2. 32
    Mr_Right

    @19: La Sandia Mexican Kitchen and Bar.
    @20: The one question I do have for Mr Right is what is the line between being selfless and a doormat?
    I’d say the line is found with a combination of things. First, what are your motives in doing something for someone. Second, how’s your self respect in regards to what you’re doing. And third, how does the other person treat you. Add those all up together, and it lets you know if what you’re doing is selfless or if you’re acting like a doormat.
    @22 What happens if a man calls, emails or texts a woman (whom he’s just started dating) every day, just to let her know that he’s thinking about her?
    This is bad news, and he should not do that in the initial stages until he’s sure that she’s as into him as he is her. It’s part of the dating ritual, best to just accept it.
    @23 I used to make guys home-cooked meals and iron their clothes and write them sweet little notes and post pictures of the two of us all over Facebook <– I can tell you that when my girl does this for me, it’s fantastic… so there are guys who like that sort of stuff. But really, it’s the guys that are into you who like it.

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